Starting last November, Google Chrome rose to no. 2 spot among web browsers, overtaking Firefox. Both are good, Saifallah Qasim skeptically says in this blog post, but what were the reasons of Firefox's downturn and is that so relevant to the Open Source community?
Firefox is the popular, open-source browser developed by the non-profit organization Mozilla. Firefox has always been on top of Google’s Chrome until recently, a new stats report showed that Chrome has surpassed Firefox and is now the second most-used web browser after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). What went wrong and why?
Google Chrome is based on the open-source project known as Chromium, with some Google-powered color scheme and features (such as the syncing feature), this browser was a big surprise to many of us as it performed pretty well. Everyone who used Chrome, even remotely, couldn't help but describing it as “snappy”. Clean UI, wide-range of extensions (no need to restart the browser) and “apps”, silent update mechanism and a Google product all make Chrome a clear winner. It launches very quickly (either cold or warm) which is, for most, a very important trait.
In my personal opinion Chrome is for those who just want to launch the browser and get going, it’s not very attractive to geeks or power users. The settings have been clearly developed for my grandparents with very limited “tinkering” and the UI is almost locked and can’t be customized. Chrome relies heavily on the memory (RAM) which could get really messy sometimes. Chrome has no personality.
Mozilla Firefox is an open-source browser that made to save humanity from the curse of IE. A very huge catalog of add-ons, the magical about:config and an unmatched customization features are the main pillars, so far, of Firefox. Yet Mozilla has succeeded to make it also a user-friendly product for those who just want something to function properly and at the same time something attractive for the nerds and hackers craving for “more”.
Since Mozilla decided to adopt the rapid-release strategy, a part of its user base, including me for sometime, has lost interest and questioned Mozilla for their decision especially that most of the updates didn’t really show any progress, user-end-wise. Some Add-ons still require the browser to restart in order to function (I wonder when will Mozilla get over this one), more time to launch, and the “complexity” of the options scare away regular users and oblige them to switch to Chrome.
No one can blame them, in addition that not many care about open-source and its philosophy. Mozilla sensed it and released a video hoping to remind people that abandoned Firefox for Chrome of their values, beliefs, and continous help for the web community.
No one can deny the role that marketing plays in this game and Google is a unique expert in that field. Their mellow ads over Youtube had great effect over some and converted them to Chrome users. Mozilla relies heavily on donations, sponsors and community support, who’s the clear winner? What’s our part? Should we even care?
Variety is the spice of life, and with Linux you can enjoy even more variety! With thousands of Linux distributions out there, JOSA's Saifallah Qasim seems to like Arch Linux best and this is why:
This post has been written right after Arch Linux have been installed on my machine (for the second time). I’ve to say this; it’s been my favorite Linux distro so far. After being an Ubuntu user for a while, I decided that I need to try something else, after all, Ubuntu isn’t the only “Linux” out there. So I started trying other distros such as Fedora, Linux Mint, and SUSE. Arch is the only one that really impressed me.
Arch Linux is a community-driven project that focuses on the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle, in other words; you get only what you want it to be. Nothing more but also nothing else. And that’s pretty much sums most of what I like about this distro. Arch really teaches you what’s really going on inside your machine, if you want to learn much more about PCs and how they work Arch can be really a great asset and also a funny experience. Arch is a rolling release distro; what that means is that you install the system once and that’s it, updates will always be pushed and your system would be running on the latest software available.
Once you install Arch all you end up with is a black log-in screen (the whole installation is about 500 Megabytes) and then you start making your OS how you want it to be. You do everything almost manually; drivers, Xorg, windows manager and the desktop environment (GNOME, KDE, LXDE, etc.). You and only you have the control over your system, this is accomplished by simple yet advanced text files. For me that was really tempting, I learned a lot (still learning) and I’ve a better understanding of what goes behind the scenes.
Arch isn’t for beginners by any mean, it involves a lot of commands via the Terminal and patience as well. The Wiki is amazing though and there’s a beginner’s guide to set you in the right track, combined with a great community that is willing to help out through the forums and their IRC channel. I’m not saying that it would be a seamless experience but I guarantee that it would be a rewarding
Symbian is the famous operating system that power up most Nokia mobile handsets. This OS was originally developed by Symbian Ltd. but then Nokia claimed it, next to an independent non-profit organization called Symbian Foundation, and implemented it on its devices.
Probably quite a bunch of people, including me, predicted that this would eventually happen and it did, Symbian OS is, technically, now open source after the big boys decided that, after 10 years, it's time to make most of the code no longer proprietary and instead available for free and download i.e open source. What would that result in? Community and developers all over the globe can now participate in further development and better-implementation of the OS on the handsets.
Is Nokia going to lose? I doubt it. If you asked me why? If you read my blog post about Android OS you could imagine my justification as well. The reason of the huge success of Android's is mainly because it's open source. Period. Nokia finally realized that it's actually starting to fall behind, well not in Jordan, after popular makers decided to go with Android and the huge success they had with it.
Kudos to whomever participated in such initiative and decision. I might even consider buying a Nokia handset after that now that I know that the OS is open source.
Probably most of you read the article about Jordan becoming the Open Source hub in the Middle East and also the blog post by Issa Mahasneh about our new minister. I will list below the main reasons, at least in my opinion, why we should also be concerned in such an issue as well.
1. Do your part. Since the government is willing to do its part by concentrating more on open source, I think we should also start thinking in the same way. Why not start using open source operating systems which are totally free instead of the proprietary Windows? Say you can't give up on Windows yet, one could still give up some other proprietary software like Microsoft Office and giving OpenOffice.org a shot.
2. Economy. In case Jordan really became an open source hub in the region, one could imagine the potential of future businesses that would slowly emerge in the market. Add to that careers and job opportunities. Also one would benefit his/her country's economy, instead of having to import non-Jordanians workers or employees, at least we won't be so ignorant in that field and we would be partially, if not almost fully, prepared and ready to dig in.
3. Collaboration. Be a part of an active community around the globe and participate in making better products. Again collaboration.
4. Better chances in the real world. Having open source / Linux experience greatly enhance the "power" of your CV, especially IT students.
5. No waste. Maximize your hardware true potential, since most open source software or OS won't eat up your RAM nor your CPU, slow or outdated machines could still be useful. Little waste of money and resources.
6. No more viruses. I'm almost positive that most of desktops/laptops running Windows got viruses, spams and worms. By using Linux that issue is solved, and so one would minimize the damage done. You won't be having more fears by getting your machine infected and the aftermath that follows.
Android is an operating system mainly developed for mobile devices but also has been seen on different internet tablets. This OS is built using the Linux kernel and is totally open source. It has been at first developed by Android Inc. but Google has purchased it and continued the development later on.
The main discussion here is the fact that such an open source platform evolved and actually made a huge success and what such thing tells us. I do believe that such projects incorporated with open source can deal massive damage to other proprietary platforms and software. For example the Apple iPhone was a huge deal and is so to this particular moment but since Android emerged, Apple has been on its toes since then.
The collaboration of a huge community worldwide, bugs tracking and continuous updates and fixes are the main pillars that supported such an open source idea to become what we see right now. Open source can and will succeed at the very end.
Major mobile manufacturers have chosen Android just because of the simple fact that it's open source, what does that mean? It simply means that they can download the source code, manipulate it and do further developments and totally make it their own, and then simply put it on their mobiles. Just like that. HTC has done it first and then other major players joined; Samsung and Motorola. Sony Ericsson shall also join as well pretty soon. For those who don't know this, Motorola has been losing money for a while and, in my opinion, Android has saved them from taking more damage. They released couple of handsets which operate on Android and are receiving huge attention. Who would've thought that an open source OS could do such a thing for such a hug company as Motorola?
What amazes me though is, why wouldn't huge manufacturers such as HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba and so fourth do the same? I know I know hardware limitations and probably because it's free too. But can you imagine having a modified Linux distro just for your MSI laptop? Wouldn't that be great? It sure would, especially that you won't be spending as much as you would spend on Windows and the software that should follow.
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